There’s something to be said about pedigree. It allows for the required pause. It eliminates the doubt. The Canadian music scene is over saturated with country acts, but when you read the names Simone Schmidt, Paul Mortimer and Kyle Porter you sit up and take notice.
As 100 Dollars, the trio composed some of the finest modern country of the last decade. The melodies could have been found on jukeboxes in dive bars across the country years ago, but Simone wrote of characters firm grounded in today’s world. There were no rehashed tales or tired metaphors; the band focused on progressing the music they loved and connecting with today’s working man.
And while the talent remains, The Highest Order is a different beast altogether. The biggest change is the percussion; more featured, more energetic, Simone TB gives these songs a new weight and lets the guitar and bass lift off and explore. This is still country rock, but with a spacey feel.
There’s not a bad song on If It’s Real, but for me, the cosmic reworking of “Luxury Liner” is the big winner. The International Submarine Band joint is treated lovingly; the song still smokes and any fan will warm when they hear the galloping drums and twangy guitar, but the way the notes echo into the infinite darkness is more Carl Sagan than Carl Smith.
Look, right now we need anything that takes the stagnant roots out of roots music and pushes artists outside of the comfort zone that is familiar melodies. The Highest Order doesn’t just take flight, they leave the stratosphere and that weightlessness is the perfect compliment to the gritty tales they sing. This is the start of something good.
Thanks to our friends at Webster Media Consulting, we have two tickets for The Highest Order show at Gus’ Pub on April 12th. To enter, simply leave your details in the comments section or email us directly - herohill AT gmail DOT COM. Act fast, because this is a one day affair. We will pick winners tomorrow morning.